Losing The Inheritance
March 22, 2011
In Jer. 17:4 the LORD says, “Through your own fault you will lose the inheritance I gave you. I will enslave you to your enemies in a land you do not know, for you have kindled My anger, and it will burn forever.”
The LORD loved Israel / Judah and had made a covenant with her through the covenant He had made with Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob, then through Moses, then with David, and also with Solomon. This was to be an ever-lasting covenant of love and blessing. But it was contingent upon obedience to God’s commands. When God confirmed to Isaac the oath He’d made with Abraham, He told Isaac the reason: “Because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My requirements, My commands, My decrees and My laws.” (Gen. 26:5) Daniel, a man “highly esteemed” in God’s sight (Daniel 9:23), begins a prayer with, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with all who love Him and obey His commands…” (v. 4), revealing with whom, and why, God keeps His covenant. In other words, God does not obligate Himself to hold to a covenant that the other party breaks through disobedience to the agreed-upon terms. The terms are, that for those who love and obey God, He will be their God –their Deliverer, Savior, Helper, and Strength.
When the LORD appeared to Solomon after he had finished building the temple, the LORD promised that He would listen “to the prayers offered in this place.” (2 Chron. 7:15) Then we see this promise God gave: “I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that My Name may be there forever. My eyes and My heart will always be there.” (v. 16) But… –did God keep this promise? No. Because the people did not uphold the terms of the promise. The terms were given in verse 17 –obedience. In verses 19 & 20, God warned, “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you… then I will uproot Israel from My land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for My Name.”
To be chosen and consecrated is to be sanctified, made sacred, and set apart as holy unto God that one may belong to God. This is what the LORD did in covenant with Israel as well as with the temple Solomon built for the LORD’s personal dwelling. However, Solomon “did not follow the LORD completely… [and] his heart had turned away from the LORD…” (1 Kings 11:6,9) Soon the nation as a whole fell deep into idolatry. “They abandoned the temple of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God’s anger came upon Judah and Jerusalem. Although the LORD sent prophets to the people to bring them back to Him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen. Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, ‘This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey the LORD’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the LORD, He has forsaken you.'” (2 Chron. 24:18-20)
God does not cause people to forsake Him, as Calvinists would have to teach in order to remain consistent with their doctrine. People instead forsake God because they love sin, and they love Self-rule rather than to be ruled by God. They want their own willful way and God will allow them that choice, though He will eventually punish such evil-doers. As the LORD says, “I was enraged by his sinful greed; I punished him, and hid My face in anger, yet he kept on in his willful ways.” (Isa. 57:17) The Lord longs to restore, to forgive, to heal, to renew the covenant and reconcile the sinner to Himself, but a person’s free will is most definitely the issue. God woos by using His Word, His Spirit, His prophets, His messengers, His ambassadors, circumstances, judgements, etc., but He does not force –in this life– a person to bow to His Lordship. It is a choice.
We have choice (free will) throughout our lifetimes. If we’ve made a covenant of love with the Lord we can continue to uphold the terms of the covenant or we can break the covenant by continued disobedience. (Heb. 10:26-31 & 6:4-6 & 2 Peter 2:20-22) For even those of us in the New Covenant, the terms still fall under one overall requirement: Obedience. –Except that this new covenant is about obedience to the Spirit rather than to the Law. (Rom. 7:6)
If someone turns away from the Spirit and follows deceiving spirits this is called “abandoning the faith”. (1 Tim. 4:1) It does happen, and it will happen, to anyone who is careless and refuses to take verse 16 seriously: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” If someone does not watch his life and doctrine closely, he will endanger his salvation –and the salvation of those he teaches. Christ can indeed be deserted (Gal. 1:6) for a false gospel, and to do so is a ticket to eternal condemnation. (v. 6-9) For “If we disown Him, He will also disown us.” (2 Tim. 2:12)
Our inheritance is Christ and His Kingdom here –now– within us (Luke 17:21) as well as eternal salvation in the Heavenly Kingdom. But through our own fault we can disinherit ourselves from this. If we do, God will not hold Himself to a broken covenant. We will consequently once again become captive to the slave master of Sin, and we will be thrown out of Christ’s Kingdom, cut off from the Vine, and tossed to the fire of eternal condemnation. (2 Peter 2:20-22 & John 15:1-6 & Heb. 10:26-31 & Matt. 18:32-35 & 22:11-14)
It will be our own fault if we lose the inheritance God has given us. However, we keep it by remaining faithful to God –to loving Him and obeying Him. As Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)
Note: (3/23/15) It has come to my attention that some of my statements in this article and similar articles of mine may have been misunderstood. For years, my focus has been to point out from God’s Word the potential of all people everywhere –groups as well as individuals, the Israelites as well as Christians– to fall from their union with God. In saying that God does not keep His promise of deliverance / salvation to those who break covenant with Him, I do not mean that God Himself is not faithful. He certainly is. But to those who repeatedly commit adultery against Him / forsake Him, God will banish them from His presence / His land / His promise / His covenant with them / His blessings, gifts, and inheritance He planned to give them. HOWEVER, if God has revealed in His Word that He has made an oath that He will redeem someone, or a group, or a race, or a nation (which He has, and it is in regards to the descendants of Jacob as a nation), then anyone who does not believe that God will do this is to disbelieve God.